This Week: Council Candidates Debate How to Prepare for the L-Pocalypse

When the L train shuts down, more car trips aren’t going to cut it. Graphic adapted from Regional Plan Association
When the L train shuts down, more car trips aren’t going to cut it. Graphic adapted from Regional Plan Association

One week from today, New Yorkers will go to the polls to vote in party primaries for mayor, City Council, district attorney, and all other municipal elected offices. In most districts, the winner of the Democratic primary will likely determine who wins in the November general elections and takes office on January 1.

For districts in Manhattan and Brooklyn served by the L train, the approaching 15-month shutdown of the Canarsie tube is perhaps the biggest transportation challenge that local City Council members will be asked to weigh in on. Hundreds of thousands of daily subway trips will be disrupted, and dramatic changes on surface streets will be necessary to keep people moving.

Transportation Alternatives is hosting two City Council candidate forums focused on the L train shutdown — in Manhattan on Wednesday and Brooklyn on Thursday. Which candidates will do the most to prioritize transit, biking, and walking while the L is out of commission? Who supports a car-free “PeopleWay” on 14th Street? Come to the forums and find out.

Here are this week’s highlights from the Streetsblog calendar. Check the full calendar for more info on these and other events.

  • Wednesday: The City Council transportation committee takes up a bill requiring DOT and the Parks Department to produce “a report on the possible installation of bike share near parks.” 250 Broadway, Manhattan. 11 a.m.
  • Also Wednesday: TransAlt and the Center for New York City Affairs host Manhattan City Council candidates for the first of two forums this week about the L train shutdown. Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall at 66 West 12th Street, Manhattan. 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: TransitCenter hosts a panel on how advocates can build alliances with public officials to win transit improvements. 1 Whitehall Street, 17th Floor, Manhattan. 6 p.m.
  • Also Thursday: TransAlt hosts an L train forum for North Brooklyn City Council candidates. 50 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn. 6:30 p.m.

Watch the calendar for updates. Drop us a line if you have an event we should know about.

  • Andrew

    Cute graphic.

    Except that the L doesn’t carry anywhere near 40,000 riders across the East River in a single hour. The “builder specification for seated and standing passengers on R160A or R143 railcars” of 1,956 per train (or really 252-258 on a per-car basis) is the maximum weight that the car is designed to safely support. In practice, there is no way that anywhere close to 252 people can fit into a single R143 subway car. A guideline load is “only” 145 per car, or 1,160 per train.

    As of 2014, the L carried 21,453 passengers in the peak hour into Manhattan. In 2015, 23,938. Peak hour ridership may have grown a little bit since 2015, but it hasn’t grown 67%.

    I’m all in favor of the RPA’s goals here, but let’s try for some honesty in presentation.

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